Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Truth and Tragedy of Facebook

Ah, Facebook. "Social networking".  The great connector of people. Rekindling friendships, unifying social groups, keeping families and friends updated on your activities...and perhaps even your meals.
Doing something fun? Post it. Having a rough day? Post it. We use Facebook to incite, inspire and infuriate each other. When something exciting happens to us, we 'Facebook' it. When we feel the need for attention, we 'Facebook'. When we want other people to jump on our bandwagon, we 'Facebook' it. (Note: when I use the word "Facebook", please feel free to substitute the words "Instagram", "Twitter", "SnapChat", and yes, perhaps even 'Blog'.)
We have come to use Facebook, as our own way of standing on the rooftop and screaming at each other. That's a truth. It is also...a tragedy.
It would benefit us all, to keep 2 small yet powerful statements in mind, when using any form of social media. 1)"Anything you say, CAN AND WILL be held against you..." (for eternity) and 2) (perhaps more powerful) "You have the right to remain silent".
Here's what I love about Facebook. I have a friend who is currently living in Thailand, and I am able to see what he's up to on a regular basis. I am very blessed to have friends and family members all over the country, and even some who live overseas, with whom I am able to stay in contact. I have a book that I'm writing, for which I can post updates, gather readers and share ideas.
If it were only used for kind, inspiring purposes, I think we, as a collective whole, would be far better in touch with ourselves and each other.
However, all too often, this medium is used as a vehicle for spreading gossip, sharing judgments, touting righteousness, and basically keeping ourselves and each other stuck in a bottomless pit of drama and 'he said, she said'. "Friends" aren't always actual 'friends', but people we want to keep track of, for one reason or another. Sometimes, we keep them around, just because we don't want to deal with the backlash of 'unfriending' them! As though 'unfriending' someone means that either you or they will instantly cease to exist on this planet! Remember the days when you'd actually go months, even YEARS without connecting with someone! Then, one day in a grocery store, BOOM!!!, there they are! Still on the planet. People stay in touch with 'ex's' because they don't want to think that they're gone forever. Toxic.  So often, people have come to judge their 'like-ability' or self worth, based on how many 'likes' they get on their page!  Absurd.  We'll even go so far as to keep tabs on how many 'friends' our friends have, to make sure we stay ahead. Sad.
I understand that Facebook, and social media as a whole has many, MANY positive aspects, and can absolutely be used for good. But, as with so many things that go on in a glutinous society, we've gone completely overboard with our use of, and involvement in social media. It has become our favorite pastime, our soap box for 'getting our point across', and the scale by which we gauge our likability.
That is nothing short of tragic.
So, here is my invitation to you. Next time you have a coffee break, time between classes, or 30 minutes while you wait for your clothes to dry, I encourage you to:
  • put on your sunglasses, and go walk around the block
  • go talk to someone, face to face, in the next cubicle, in the hallway or at the water cooler
  • call a friend, pet your dog, read a magazine or just spend some time in your thoughts.
There is a beautiful and amazing world going by, OUTSIDE of technology. Take a little time today to get reconnected with THAT world, and allow yourself to be in it.

Wishing you a most glorious and beautiful day today...and always,

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